The Potato Challenge

What happens when you take a group that is conformed by the sons and daughters of potato farmers, descendants of a millenary civilization such as the Incas, and mix it with state of the art Blockchain technology and coding training? An amazing 48 hours hackathon with breathtaking results in the Andean Mountains located in Cusco, Perú.

This region (Cusco), is well known for fostering many of the over 3,000 of the 5,000 existing varieties of potato in the world. This places Perú first in Latin America and second in the American continent as a potato producer country, being this agricultural activity responsible for over 13% of the GDP of more than 700,000 families. This was the perfect scenario for executing such an interesting hackathon, as tons of value could be created and obtained from it.

We were not mistaken. Many of the participants brought with them all the ancestral knowledge that they got from their parents as well as their technical background as there were agricultural engineers, agronomists, economists, biologists, among others. This, together with the fact that thanks to the partnership we set with IBM for this hackathon, a previous workshop was delivered to the participants, in which the concepts of Blockchain and coding were introduced and reinforced. It was all about creating Blockchain capabilities for this amazing group of diverse and highly talented developers.

The solutions presented by the participants addressed a common issue: how to fight and control plague outbreaks and how to make potato growth way more efficient than it currently is. Solutions varied within a wide range of creativity. Some included tools amazing features such as geo-localization, image recognition, all the way through data leveraging through machine learning, data analytics. All were based on Blockchain technology.

All in all, this hackathon that was born as an initiative from the Peruvian Government, is just a tip of the iceberg of what is yet to come. It is just a hint on the enormous possibility of capabilities to be developed and already existing within a global and diverse community. This, in particular, was an eye-opening exercise in which ancestral knowledge and innovation through state of the art technology such as Blockchain, come together for effectively addressing long lasting problems in many different industries.

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